Monster of the Week: Ushi-oni

Japan has some of the most unique monsters in world mythology. The creativity and creepiness of these creature should provide fodder for many a horror writer. One of the more intriguing creatures, though not the one of focus today, is the Gashadokuro. This giant skeleton is made from the bones of those who starved to death. And guess what? If you are caught by the Gashadokuro, you get your head bitten off, blood drained, and skeleton added to its frame. Yay.

The monster I’d like to introduce today is the ushi-oni. Depending on the region of Japan, the creature can be human-shaped, sea creaturesque, or dragon-like. One of the weirder appearances has it compared to the size of an ox, with crab/spider-like legs, tusks, and has loose skin used for gliding. The ushi-oni can be a protection from evil spirit or terrorize fisherman and other innocents. In a lot of ways, these ushi-oni are like the trolls of Japan: often living in seclusion, terrorizing those who come near them, and defeated by a hero/warrior.

If you’d like more, Wikipedia has a great deal of information about the creature as well as some regional legend synopses.

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